Silencing of church bells in recent court ruling triggers uneasiness in Italian town

WION Web Team
Rome Updated: Feb 28, 2022, 02:09 PM(IST)

A small town in northern Italy is divided over a court ruling, which silenced Church bells (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In the town, some people miss bells of Sant’Ulderico church while others claim to have got the much-needed respite. Now, there have been accusations of personal vendettas as well. Some people are calling on the European Commission to act to “protect traditions”. They said that bells used to serve as a clock and inform people about the start of mass or a feast day

The silencing of church bells in a recent court ruling seems to have not gone down well in a small town in northern Italy.  

The decision to remove the bells was taken by a judge in nearby Trieste. It had also preceded a petition to put an end to “loud and excessive” ringing.   

Now, the row has led to anger among the population of 4,800 in Dolina, which is close to Italy’s border with Slovenia. It also has a minority Slovene community.  

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In the town, some people miss bells of Sant’Ulderico church while others claim to have got the much-needed respite. Now, there have been accusations of personal vendettas as well.  

Some people are calling on the European Commission to act to “protect traditions”. They said that bells used to serve as a clock and inform people about the start of mass or a feast day.  

“Fines have been given to Italian parishes if bells are too noisy, but they have never been confiscated before. This reaction was a bit too heavy,” said the parish priest, Klemen Zalar.  

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The issue began during Covid lockdown in 2020 when the automatically operated bells became intolerable for some people, who were stuck at home.   

“It was bam-bam, bam-bam all day long,” said Mauro Zerial, the organiser of the petition, who counted 550 strokes in a day between Monday and Saturday, and 1,350 on a Sunday.   

“It would start at 6am, with 70 strokes for the Ave Maria, then seven at 7am, and then every 15 minutes until another long ring for the start of evening mass. It was crazy. But nobody wanted the bells to be silenced, we just wanted them to be operated within the norms. And in no way was this an attack against Slovenian traditions,” said Zerial.   

(With inputs from agencies) 

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